My sister and I drove to Texas a few months ago on two-lane and superhighways. Some roads stretched off into the distance of flat land and sometimes the eye could follow a dirt road laid out for miles unsheltered by trees. Most of the time I watched approaching traffic, innocent insects splatting against the windshield, farm fields along the highway and open flat spaces. Eventually the rental car needed gas, but we’d forgotten or fallen into deep conversation until a bell went off with its warning of depleted resources. Oh dear, we’d better find a gas station. But the next town on the map isn’t even large enough for a post office, so we hold our collective breath wondering how we could have driven so long and forgotten about the gas tank, the world’s melting ice caps, the depletion of animal species, the heavy pollution in the air.
The small towns of Texas are dying. They’re located off the road, on business routes so I could have easily missed them without slowing down for the gasoline emergency. Tall silos and grain elevators are rusted, crumbling, deserted. The words of billboards past have long since been erased by rain and neglect. Yet half the town remains, as if an invisible knife sliced the town in two and declared that it was normal for big agriculture and GMO seeds to take over and have no use for field hands. Pack up and move to some other place. Go into the military, why don’t you? The U.S. has unlimited wars to fight to maintain control of the planet’s dwindling resources. A billboard in one town blames everything on Obama. He stared out from an edited campaign poster box that has changed “Hope” to “Nope,” and we continud searching for a gas station while driving past weed-choked yards and lawns and buildings with roofs of shattered shingles.
Marguerite’s Musings are a regular feature of Suffrage Wagon News Channel.